Game | #5571 | 

Season | 2019-20 |

Matchday | #29 |

League Game | #23 | 
Manager Game | #67 |
Saturday, 18 January 2020
Premier League | Away | Brighton & Hove Albion | AMEX Stadium | 30,551 | 

19-20 #29 50
19-20 #29 50

19-20 #29 49
19-20 #29 49

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19-20 #29 2

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19-20 #29 50


Game Summary |

Manager | Dean Smith | 

KO | 15.00 |
Referee | Andy Madley | 

 HT Score | 0-1 | 
 FT Score | 1-1 | 
 FT Result | Drew | 

Last 5 Games | WLDLD |  

Scorers | Jack Grealish | 75' | 

Assists | Douglas Luiz | 75' |

Team News |

New signing goalkeeper Pepe Reina makes his debut following his return to English football earlier this week as Ørjan Nyland drops to the bench after conceding 6 on his Premier League debut in the last game. Fellow debutant of the previous week who suffered an equally chastening first appearance, Danny Drinkwater, keeps his place however along with Nyland, Neil Taylor, Douglas Luiz, Conor Hourihane are benched and Ahmed Elmohamady drops from the squad entirely in response to the heavy defeat to the reigning champions.

In their places Marvelous Nakamba, Trézéguet and Frédéric Guilbert are recalled and Matt Targett returns after injury.

For the third consecutive game Villa line up without a recognised centre forward.

Teenager Indiana Vassilev makes the bench for the fourth consecutive game with Tom Heaton, John McGinn, Wesley, Jed Steer, and Keinan Davis all injured whilst not selected in the squad are Björn Engels (3rd consecutive game), Jota (2nd consecutive game), Lovre Kalinić (replaced by the dropped Nyland on the bench), Ahmed Elmohamady and Jonathan Kodjia (negotiating transfer).

Line Up |

GK Pepe Reina | DEBUT  

RB Frédéric Guilbert |

CB Ezri Konsa |

CB Kortney Hause |

CB Tyrone Mings |

LB Matt Targett |

M Danny Drinkwater | BOOKED | 14' | SUB OFF | 68' | 

M Marvelous Nakamba | BOOKED | 81' | SUB OFF | 86' | 

M Jack Grealish | GOAL | 75' | 

W Anwar El Ghazi |

W Trézéguet | SUB OFF | 67' | 

Substitutes |

W Indiana Vassilev | for W Trézéguet | 67' | 

M Douglas Luiz | ASSIST for M Danny Drinkwater | 68' | 

M Conor Hourihane | BOOKED | 90'+5 | for M Marvelous Nakamba | 86' | 

Unused Substitutes |

GK Ørjan Nyland |

LB Neil Taylor |

CB James Chester |

M Henri Lansbury |

Cards |

Yellow | Danny Drinkwater for a bad foul | 14' |

Yellow | Marvelous Nakamba for a bad foul | 81' |

Yellow | Conor Hourihane for a bad foul | 90'+5 |

Match Stats |

Possession F | 44
Possession A | 56
Shots F | 8
Shots A | 10
Shots on Target F | 3
Shots on Target A | 2
Corners F | 4
Corners A | 3
Fouls F | 13
Fouls A | 11

Team Stats |

Starting XI Average Age | 26.44 | 

Substitute Average Age | 23.21 | 

Oldest Player | GK Pepe Reina | 37.41 | 

Youngest Player (Starter) | CB Ezri Konsa | 22.25 | 

Youngest Player (Substitute) | W Indiana Vassilev | 18.93 | 

Not Selected | 

CB Björn Engels |

W Jota |

GK Lovre Kalinić |

RB Ahmed Elmohamady |

M Jacob Ramsey |

CF Cameron Archer |

Unavailable | 

Injury | 7 | 

CF Keinan Davis | Hamstring 30 Oct - Late Jan | 

GK Jed Steer | Hamstring 10 Nov - End Feb  | 

M John McGinn | Broken ankle 21 Dec - Late Mar |

GK Tom Heaton | Knee, ACL 1 Jan - 2020-21 |

CF Wesley | Knee, ACL 1 Jan - 2020-21 |

Loaned Out | 6 |

CM Jake Doyle-Hayes | Cheltenham Town | 1 August 2019 - 31 May 2020 | 

CF Rushian Hepburn-Murphy | Tranmere Rovers | 2 August 2019 - 31 May 2020 | 

CF Scott Hogan | Stoke City | 7 August 2019 - 31 May 2020 | 

RB James Bree | Luton Town | 8 August 2019 - 31 May 2020 | 

CF Callum O’Hare | Coventry City | 22 August 2019 - 31 May 2020 | 

W André Green | Charlton Athletic | 1 January 2020 - 31 May 2020 |  


Negotiating Transfer | 1 | 

CF Jonathan Kodjia

 On this day 18 January 2020 

Goalkeeper Pepe Reina made his Villa debut aged 37 after joining on loan from AC Milan for the remainder of the 2019-20 season.

Match Report

*BBC Sport* 

*Saturday, 18 January 2020*


Dean Smith says debutant Pepe Reina's "charisma" rubbed off on his Aston Villa players after they fought back from 1-0 down to claim a point at Brighton.

The 37-year-old, who joined on loan from AC Milan earlier this week, made a superb late save to deny Neal Maupay and preserve a point for Villa, who had equalised through Jack Grealish's fine strike with 15 minutes left.

"The players know that they have a calm head behind them," Smith said of the former Liverpool goalkeeper. "His charisma is rubbing off on people because our back-three were superb in the second half."

Brighton had taken the lead in the first half when Leandro Trossard hit a first-time shot into the corner after a fine run by Maupay.

The former Brentford striker was then involved in an angry confrontation with Ezri Konsa at the final whistle, in what was a fiery conclusion to a game that rarely sparked into life.

Aston Villa remain in the relegation zone despite the draw. Brighton stay 14th but are now three points clear of the bottom three.


Grealish and Reina shine for Villa


Villa boss Smith wanted a reaction from his players after their humbling 6-1 defeat by Manchester City last weekend, their worst result since 2016.

He made five changes to his side, including a debut in goal Reina, who could do little to stop Trossard's fine opener.


But with a £10m deal for Genk striker Mbwana Samatta yet to be completed, Villa started the match without a recognised centre-forward for the third game in a row.


Anwar El Ghazi was pushed furthest forward, but struggled to get much from Adam Webster and Lewis Dunk.


That placed most of the creative burden on Grealish, who once again looked the player most likely to change the game for the visitors.


The 24-year-old had a great chance to open the scoring in the first half but he drove the ball wide from the edge of the area after a breakaway from the halfway line.


But with the game drifting away from Villa in the second half, he showed a moment of genuine quality to control Douglas Luiz's pass, shimmy away from the defender before firing beyond Mat Ryan for his ninth goal of the season.


"It's a super ball and a super strike from Jack," said Smith. "He's in great goalscoring form; he's in great form full stop and it just shows the sort of player he is.


"At the moment everyone knows we are playing without a recognised striker and it is down to Grealish, Trezeguet and Anwar El Ghazi to come up trumps with goals and they are managing to do that."

Brighton struggle in front of goal

Brighton enjoyed the better of possession and made most of the running in the first half, but they showed a lack of composure in the final third, highlighted by the fact they could only manage two shots on target all game.

They scored with their first attempt, with the lively Maupay central in the build-up.

The former Brentford striker went on a mazy run from just inside the Aston Villa half before teeing up Trossard, who fired an unstoppable drive across Reina into the bottom corner for his third goal of the season.

Maupay and Aaron Connolly formed a hard-working strike partnership and they hassled and harried the Villa defence all afternoon, but without really testing Reina until the closing stages.

That lack of cutting edge cost them, with Grealish's late equaliser meaning Brighton have now dropped 14 points from losing positions in the Premier League this season.

This game marked the start of a run of matches against sides around Brighton in the table, with Bournemouth, West Ham and Watford lying in wait in the next few weeks.

Graham Potter has been praised for the way he has developed Brighton's playing style, but he needs a greater attacking threat from his side in those matches if they are to pull themselves away from danger.

Aston Villa head coach Dean Smith, speaking to BBC Match of the Day: 


"I thought the game was a tale of two halves. We were a little bit too passive in our pressing and not good enough on the ball in the first half. But we played well second half and deserved that goal.

On responding to Manchester City defeat: "Man City are another level to a lot of the other teams in this league. These are the teams, Brighton, Watford on Tuesday, we've got Bournemouth coming up as well, that will define our season."

*The Guardian* 

*Saturday, 18 January 2020*

Jack Grealish’s strike earns Aston Villa a priceless point at Brighton

After the deluge, a draw that gives Aston Villa hope that the tide is turning in their season. Dean Smith’s side came into this game on the back of a 6-1 defeat by Manchester City and could have gone under again after Leandro Trossard fired Brighton into the lead. Instead they rallied and earned an equaliser thanks to a wonderful goal by Jack Grealish.

A typically excellent strike from their talisman was only one of the aspects of this game from which Villa could take encouragement, with others being their combativeness, a terrific late save from their new goalkeeper, Pepe Reina, and the fact that the draw was achieved without a recognised striker. That vacancy will soon be filled, as the Tanzanian forward Mbwana Samatta has passed a medical as the club puts the finishing touches to his £8.5m transfer from Genk. “The paperwork is being ticked off,” said Smith.

Brighton, meanwhile, were left to reflect on another match in which they were superior in spells but failed to profit. They remain just three points ahead of Villa and at risk of replacing them in the relegation zone if they do not find a way of translating periods of promising play into regular rewards. “You can’t just win by playing well, you have to be able to suffer,” said Graham Potter.

Brighton had the advantage of being able to field a balanced lineup here. Villa, by contrast, had to start without a specialist striker for the third match in a row, with Anwar El Ghazi again asked to do his best impersonation of a natural striker. He is game but plainly no predator.

Villa have had problems at the other end, too, but Reina helped bring solidity to a backline that was blown apart by City last Sunday. The 37-year-old former Liverpool player was put straight into the starting lineup here for his first game since October, when he made his solitary outing for his parent club, Milan, and his first Premier League appearance since he kept a clean sheet for Liverpool, against Queens Park Rangers in May 2013.

For a while Reina may have fancied his chances of marking his Villa debut with a clean sheet. He had little to do in the opening minutes, other than dash off his line to punch the ball clear as Aaron Connolly tried to make the most of a cross from Trossard.

Smith had demanded more aggression from his team after being angered by their timidity against City, when Villa committed five fouls. They equalled that tally in the first half-hour here, with Danny Drinkwater earning a booking as early as the 14th minute for crunching into Neal Maupay.

Brighton still had the majority of possession but there was a regrettable lack of quality from both sides in an opening half-hour that brought to mind a tug-of-war between two earnest oafs of equal weight. Villa created the first really clear chance thanks to a hopeful pass forward from the back in the 37th minute. Grealish latched on to it and held off two defenders as he made his way into the box. But he then shot wide from 16 yards.

One minute later, as if to compound the pain of that miss, Trossard showed him how it should have been done. Maupay drove from midfield before reaching the edge of the D and slipping the ball to Trossard, who lashed the ball across Reina and into the far corner.

Villa have had the tendency to disintegrate after conceding this season but here they rebelled. But they did not look like equalising until Smith made a double substitution in the 67th minute. He introduced the 18-year-old American striker Indiana Vassilev for his first Premier League appearance and replaced Drinkwater with Douglas Luiz.

The switch soon paid off with the help of negligent defending. When Douglas Luiz angled a fine pass into the box from the right touchline, Grealish was somehow free to collect it. This time the finish was glorious, as he thrashed a left-footed shot past Mat Ryan from 16 yards. The goal gave Villa an adrenaline rush. But Brighton would have snatched a late winner through Maupay if not for a plunging one-handed save by Reina.